BWW REVIEW: A Greek Tragedy Is Given A Contemporary Australian Update In ORPHEUS
Thursday 18th August 2016, Blood Moon Theatre Kings Cross
Lies, Lies and Propaganda and Suspicious Woman Productions have delivered another unique spin on a classic tale with ORPHEUS. Directors and creators Michael Dean and Jasper Garner Gore have turned everything upside down, from the story to the delivery method creating an intriguing night of live performance.
The iconic story of Orpheus' (Daniel Monks) descent into the underworld to retrieve his wife Eurydice (Lana Kershaw) from the clutches of Hades is transported from the usual imaginings of a gothic or glam mythical underworld to a country pub somewhere in outback Australia. Dean and Gore create an environment that is both welcoming and unsettling from the moment the audience walks through the doors to Blood Moon Theatre, tucked away in the back of World Bar. Girls in flannel shirts, singlets, and white disposable overalls great guests with a casual "How's it goin', Grab and Drink" instruction. As the audience files in, these "Furies" (Dymphna Carew, Bodelle de Ronde, Victoria Greiner) quietly chat to each other to the strains of a melancholy electric guitar played by similarly attired guy languishing against the wall (Michael Yore). The location of the audience on the small stage, looking down the length of bar adds another dimension to the strategy to challenge conventional ideas. As start time draws near, the layout does however prove challenging as a Persephone (Curly Fernandez) starts an interpretive dance whilst latecomers make their way to their seats and various members of the creative team wander between the entrance door and the sound desk.
Instead of the underworld, Eurydice finds herself drawn into a country pub that only has a bus come by on Friday. The living world is the city, the big smoke, from which we also see Persephone return with stories of the excesses and wastefulness. As Orpheus seeks to retrieve his love from the Hades' clutches he finds himself in a talent show, albeit surrounded by creatures that are unaffected by his talent.
For those less familiar with the mythology, this interpretation doesn't necessarily lend itself to an easy understanding but for those looking for a very alternative expression, this will satisfy their desire. It is in turns bizarre, grotesque and hilarious and the creativity to utilise the unusual space. Kershaw's expression of Eurydice's death is a challenge for anyone with a sympathetic gag reflex and the Furies demanding tantrum is hilarious as are the contestants for the talent competition. Monks presents a wonderful contrast to the madness he has entered and Yore presents an enticing and enchanting Hades that makes it believable that Eurydice could be tempted by death.
This presentation of ORPHEUS is alternative take of mythology for a new generation. This is an interesting revisiting for those familiar with the story or an introduction to the ancient stories.
Blood Moon Theatre, The World Bar
16 - 27 August 2016